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Cambridge first for GC Sixth Form student

30 June 2016

A former GC Sixth Form student has gone on to realise his dream and achieved a first-class honours degree in history at Cambridge University.

21-year-old Simon Hickman, from Chepstow, studied A Level History, Government and Politics, and Religious Studies: Philosophy and Ethics at GC Sixth Form Cheltenham, achieving an impressive two A*s and one A in 2013.

Prior to coming to GC Simon gained “relatively average” GCSE results at Chepstow Comprehensive School, and chose to study his A Levels at GC Sixth Form due to the rare offer of both Government and Politics, and Religious Studies: Philosophy and Ethics at A Level.

He said: “The relaxed atmosphere at GC was perfect for me and allowed me to perform at my best, which was instrumental in getting me into Cambridge, despite relatively average GCSE results.

“The lecturers at GC immediately treated me like an adult, capable of making my own decisions. I found that the overall atmosphere among students was more open and welcoming than in school, and I also found excellent friends.”

Simon always had a passion for history and now he has achieved a first-class degree in the subject, he hopes to follow the route of academic history: "History and religious studies were the only subjects I was good at in school, and I became more interested in history through reading extensively on niche subjects like the Swedish Empire.

“The History A Level at GC was very enjoyable and in second year the subject of post-war Britain sparked my interest in that area; this then became my primary specialisation during my time at university. In that sense, it shaped what my likely career path will be.

“I would very much like to do a PhD in history at some point, but I might leave that for a few years now. Ultimately I want a job that allows me to do extensive research projects.”

Simon’s former Lecturer, Peter Moger, said: “Simon has demonstrated that, through application and consistent effort, it is possible to realise your dreams. Yes, Simon is an intellectually gifted student but, during his time studying A Levels at GC, he combined this with excellent attendance, a diligent approach to homework and extensive wider reading.

“Having not enjoyed his time at school, Simon made the most of his time at GC, taking a positive approach to his learning that allowed him to flourish as a high achieving student. He made strong links with the College and developed rewarding friendships.

“Simon has visited us on a number of occasions to inspire current students with his Cambridge University experiences. True to form he has taken advantage of the opportunities that studying at one of the world’s best universities presents and achieved a first-class honours degree. The GC Sixth Form staff are immensely proud of him and hope that his example will spur our students on to achieving their full potential.”

GC Sixth Form, based at the Cheltenham and Forest of Dean campuses, is an excellent environment in which to study A Levels, with all the support and community feel of a school, but with the facilities, career guidance and development opportunities of a college.

There are over 20 course options at GC Sixth Form, including Archaeology, Art and Design, Business Studies, Sciences, English, Mathematics, Health and Social Care, Languages (French and Spanish), Law, Photography and IT.

For more information, and to apply to start in September, visit

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